CLEARWATER, Fla. — Less than an hour before the Phillies' final Florida exhibition, Ruben Amaro Jr. found Delmon Young eating lunch in the clubhouse. He shook the outfielder's hand, wished him luck, and patted him on the back.
While everyone else packed, Young faced the likelihood of another month here to recover from ankle surgery. It does not bother him.
"They can have April," Young said. "I want October."
The Phillies have not assigned a hard timetable to Young's return and Young said he does not have a date in mind. It could be May before he wears a Phillies uniform in a meaningful game.
Until then, Young will bide his time in Florida. He played in his fourth minor-league game Thursday. He still hobbles in the clubhouse and is not yet ready to play in the field.
"I feel alright," Young said. "I'm still not game-ready to go out and play every day. I'm getting there."
For now, there is no reason to rush Young. The day he is activated and added to the 25-man roster, he receives a $225,000 bonus. That is motivation for the team to wait until he is fully recovered and capable in right field.
That patience could waver, of course, if the platoon of Laynce Nix and John Mayberry Jr. fails.
Young will use extended spring training as the vehicle to relearn that position, which he has not manned since 2007.
Charlie Manuel said he envisions playing Domonic Brown in both corner spots for the first month of the season while Young recovers. Eventually, the team wants Young in right and Brown in left.
"When I see [Brown] sometimes, he's improving in both places," Manuel said. "I like him in left."
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